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Arsenal offered Atletico Madrid two players during unsuccessful Thomas Partey talks Advertisement Metro Sport ReporterSaturday 5 Sep 2020 8:58 amShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link14.1kShares Advertisement Arsenal are still keen to bring in Thomas Partey (Picture: Getty Images)Arsenal offered both Matteo Guendouzi and Alexandre Lacazette to Atletico Madrid in an attempt to strike a deal for Thomas Partey but the Spanish side were not interested.The Gunners have been pursuing the Ghanaian midfielder over the summer but have failed to make a breakthrough in discussions for his signature.Partey has a £45m release clause in his Atletico contract and the club is insistent that Arsenal must meet that price if they want to sign him.Money is tight at Arsenal, especially after the arrival of Gabriel Magalhaes for £27m from Lille, and they are unlikely to stump up the £45m, so have been trying to negotiate a deal that involves swapping players.AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENTGuendouzi, who became something of an outcast under Mikel Arteta towards the end of the season, and Lacazette were both offered in exchange for Partey, but Atletico did not take the bait, according to Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano.‘For sure they spoke with Atletico Madrid,’ Romano said on Lee Gunner’s YouTube channel. ‘It was during the meeting they had for Thomas, the first time it was in July.More: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man City‘They spoke about Matteo Guendouzi and they spoke also about Lacazette, but at the moment, Atletico Madrid was not going for Lacazette.’A deal for Partey is not entirely dead, but Arsenal must either come up with the funds or players that Ateltico are actually interested in to manage a swap deal.The pressure is building as both Paris Saint-Germain and Inter Milan have now been credited with an interest in the midfielder and either could be willing to meet his release clause.MORE: Yaya Toure axed from Soccer Aid for offering to hire sex workers for team-matesMORE: ‘Never any doubt’ – Dani Ceballos explains why he rejected Real Madrid offer and opted to return to ArsenalFollow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.For more stories like this, check our sport page. Comment
Sverre Thornes, chief executive, KLP“This means we are in a position to pay out a significant dividend to our customers,” Thornes said.KLP posted a NOK5.7bn (€584m) profit for its public-sector occupational pension customers, of which NOK2.9bn would go into the premium fund. The remaining NOK2.8bn would be used to boost supplementary reserves, the company said.According to KLP’s annual report, long-term bonds produced a 3.7% return in the collective portfolio in 2018, property investments generated 7.3%, while equities ended the year with a 3.6% loss.Underlying growth in the premium reserve had been stable, KLP said, adding that that the ongoing Norwegian local government reforms had not yet resulted in any major changes.The reform involves several local authorities merging with neighbours to form larger entities, which means some pensions business leaving KLP as municipalities opt to join an independent pension fund.Thornes said KLP was “well prepared” to meet increased complexity as a result of regulatory changes and any new competition that might emerge.“New pension regulations will provide greater freedom of choice to the individual, but will also create a greater need for information and advice,” he said.The changes in pension schemes for public-sector employees in Norway will take effect from 1 January 2020.KLP took in premium income of NOK39bn in 2018, up from NOK32bn in 2017, while total assets grew to NOK675.6bn in 2018 from NOK652.2bn the year before. Values were realised from previous good years, which ensured a book return of 0.4% during the fourth quarter, and 3.5% for the year as a whole, he said. Norway’s public sector pension fund gained 1.5% on its collective portfolio in 2018 despite losses in the fourth quarter.Kommunal Landspensjonskasse (KLP) posted the return on a value-adjusted basis even though equity market declines resulted in a 1.4% investment loss in the final three months of the year.Property and long-term bonds made positive contributions to the overall result, partially offsetting equity losses, the country’s largest municipal pensions provider reported.In KLP’s 2018 results statement, chief executive Sverre Thornes said: “Troubled equity markets and rising interest rates in Norway and abroad characterised the result for 2018.”
The Flood Diversion Authority has just released an extended flyover video, taken on Friday, June 16, 2017, of the construction work being done at the future site of the Fargo-Moorhead Area Diversion Inlet and Control Structure south of Horace, North Dakota.The diversion project includes a 30-mile long diversion channel in North Dakota with upstream staging, a 12-mile long southern embankment, 19 highway bridges, four railroad bridges, three gated control structures and two aqueduct structures.Once complete, it will significantly reduce flood risk for more than 230,000 people and 70 square miles of infrastructure in the communities of Fargo, Moorhead, West Fargo, Horace and Harwood.The Flood Diversion Authority was formed through a joint powers agreement between the City of Fargo; the City of Moorhead; Cass County, North Dakota; Clay County, Minnesota; the Joint Cass Water Resource District; and the Buffalo-Red River Watershed District.The mission of the Flood Diversion Authority is to build the flood diversion project to protect the approximately 200,000 residents of the greater metropolitan area.
Edinburgh-born Mackay passed away at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham. Having joined Tottenham from Hearts in 1959, Mackay went on to achieve a historic league and FA Cup double with the north London club in 1961. Press Association Spurs are set to hold a minute’s silence for their former captain, who also helped Derby to success as a player and coach before taking up a similar role with Swindon. Ferguson, who fondly remembers Mackay as a contemporary and a friend, told Sky Sports News: “I played against him once and I’m glad it was only once! “He was hard. He was one of the hardest men of all time – a great Scottish player. You think of Denis Law, Kenny Dalglish, Graeme Souness; Dave Mackay was along with them. “He came back from two broken legs. He broke it against Manchester United actually, recovered and broke it again. He went on to play for Derby County and won the league and then became the manager, which was not an easy task because he followed Brian Clough, of course. “But he’s had a fantastic career both has player and as manager. I always remember he was a good friend of mine.” Spurs will hold their minute’s applause ahead of Wednesday night’s game against Swansea at White Hart Lane, with black armbands being worn by the squad and a number of the club’s highest-profile former players paying tribute to Mackay at half-time. Current Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino is anticipating an emotional occasion for the evening kick-off, saying: “It is a great loss for British football. He was a legend for Tottenham and in British football. “A very sad day and I want to send condolences to his family and friends. Sir Alex Ferguson has hailed the fantastic career of Dave Mackay as the tributes came in for the former Tottenham and Scotland midfielder, who died on Monday night aged 80. “He is a legend, big player and manager, and it is a very sad day. It is emotional yes. Our players know it is important to get the three points.” The Scottish FA announced it will also hold a minute’s applause in honour of Mackay before Scotland’s friendly against Northern Ireland later this month. The 22-cap Scotland international began his career with Hearts in 1953 and captained the Edinburgh side to the Scottish League title during the 1957-58 season. “The Scottish FA is deeply saddened by the news of Dave Mackay’s death,” a statement on its website read. “He was a legendary figure with Heart of Midlothian, Tottenham Hotspur and Derby County; an inspirational pillar for the clubs with whom he played with distinction and, of course, his country. “Dave played 22 times for Scotland and was instrumental in helping his country qualify for the FIFA World Cup finals in Sweden in 1958. “His last international appearance occurred against Northern Ireland in 1965 and the Scottish FA believe it is appropriate that a minute’s applause should be observed in his honour prior to the forthcoming match against Michael O’Neill’s side at Hampden Park on Wednesday, 25th March.” Arsene Wenger, manager of Tottenham’s biggest rivals Arsenal, also spoke about Mackay in his own media briefing ahead of the Gunners’ game at QPR. “He’s an iconic figure of English football who contributed a lot to Tottenham’s success at the time,” Wenger said. “He played for Derby as well and was a great player. We’re sad to see these people disappear. You are sorry (to hear about it) and it is a sad moment for English football.” Former Derby captain Roy McFarland spoke fondly about Mackay’s time at the Baseball Ground. “The majority of pictures you see of Dave Mackay, he had his chest stuck out. That is how he played and that is how he lived his life,” he told BBC Radio Derby. “He had a tough legacy taking over as manager from Brian Clough, in terms of the atmosphere at the club, but he calmed and settled everyone down.”
A year ago, just being there was special enough. Making it to the next step in the journey, the NCAA tournament, was enough. Winning a first-round playoff game and making it to a second-round matchup against powerhouse Duke was icing on the cake. The expectation wasn’t to come away with a win, but merely some program experience.One offseason later, those expectations changed.On Saturday, the USC women’s lacrosse team earned a rematch with those Duke Blue Devils. In a program-defining 11–5 upset win, the Women of Troy earned the program’s most significant victory in its short four-year history. It’s a remarkably good sign for what is potentially to come from this upstart program, as well as validation for the outgoing athletic department head who placed so much faith in it.In its fourth official season as an NCAA Division I program, the USC women’s lacrosse team has joined the ranks of the top national programs. In its inaugural 2013 season, the team experienced some understandable growing pains and didn’t quite burst onto the national scene right out of the gate. A year later, while still growing, the Women of Troy have established themselves as a legitimate player in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation conference.Last year, the Trojans nearly had its moment in the early season spotlight. Hosting national power Northwestern in the Coliseum, the Women of Troy mounted a serious upset bid against the Wildcats. Unfortunately, the upset was thwarted, and the Wildcats eventually came back to win in overtime. The Women of Troy fought hard all season to get into the national rankings, and they eventually authenticated a season of progress by making the NCAA tournament. A first round playoff win served as extra validation and earned the second round matchup with Duke. But the Blue Devils were too much for the Trojans at the time and eventually made it to the national semifinals after beating USC.The Trojans did have the benefit of a home field in the rematch. Instead of flying across the country, the Women of Troy merely had to take a bus down to Orange County to meet the Blue Devils, who had to take the long cross-country flight this time. Nonetheless, a stifling defensive performance against the fifth-ranked Blue Devils proves that this Women of Troy team can truly beat anyone in the country.When looking at the USC coaching staff, it’s no shock that the program has ascended to the top. As head coach, Lindsey Munday leads the Women of Troy, and is also the team captain of the women’s national team. With great facilities and a top-ranked school academically, USC has brought in some of the top recruits in the nation who may want to escape the ice cold weather typical at usual East Coast lacrosse powerhouses. The sky is the limit for this program — it helps being able to see that clear blue sky about 280 days a year — and the Trojans could legitimately win the national title sometime in the next five years.Lacrosse is still a relatively obscure sport on campus despite the recent success. Like all non-revenue teams, it won’t dominate the headlines, even if it goes on a national championship run.Nonetheless, it is a sign of how strong the overall athletic program at USC has become under athletic director Pat Haden. It won’t be as important as head football coach Clay Helton winning a national championship in his USC tenure, but Haden’s involvement in the success of the women’s lacrosse team shows that he knocked the ball out of the park with at least one program hire.Though their success may not bring out thousands of fans like the football team’s spring game will, the Women of Troy’s success is certainly something to follow. The season is just getting started, but the team has already set a new standard for success going forward.Luke Holthouse is junior majoring in policy, planning and development and broadcast and digital journalism. His column, “Holthouse Party,” runs on Wednesdays.
Chairman of Invest Saint Lucia, Mr. Pinkly Francis CASTRIES, Saint Lucia – Declaring that it has adopted “the Royal Standard” of investment promotion and facilitation, Invest Saint Lucia (ISL) has officially announced its rebranding as a national agency, striving to succeed for the benefit of all Saint Lucians.The unveiling of the new brand took place on Monday, September 30, 2019, during a press event at the Harbor Club, Rodney Bay.Officials of ISL presented the new brand as a “culture change”, rather than just cosmetic change, geared to attract investors who treat Saint Lucia as their own precious home, and not a place just to profit off its people and natural resources.Chief Executive Officer, Roderick Cherry, said that under the new tagline, “Make It Your Own”, a re-focused ISL will promote more aggressively the island’s natural and physical attributes, along with the economic advantages, such as a stable business environment to targeted sectors and investors.“On the international stage, what we have done with our new strategy is to try to focus very clearly on a few areas: tourism development, business process outsourcing, manufacturing and agro-processing. The difference now is that we have recognised what we do well, and we are using that, rather than throwing a wide net, to be very specific on the types of investment we go after,” Mr. Cherry explained.The rebranded Invest Saint Lucia will pay greater attention to local investment, consistent with ISL’s mandate to create economic activity and employment, said Chairman of Invest Saint Lucia, Pinkly Francis. This was necessary, mindful of the perception among Saint Lucians that the entity focuses on attracting foreign direct investment and less on local investment. He said that the facilitation process that ISL provides is the same for national and foreign clients.“An investor can come to Invest Saint Lucia and we will walk you through the entire process – from conceptualization of the idea, through to applying to various government entities for approvals, including concessions from the government. That has always been available to the local investor. They simply do not take advantage of it. What we have done now with our new image is to place more emphasis and make it known to the local investor that our doors are open. We have had a lot of success stories that we facilitated through Invest Saint Lucia. One example is Brice & Company. We have done a lot over the years in ensuring than Brice & Company become one of the large entities in Saint Lucia. We are also focusing on other sectors – the hotel sector, the hospitality sector, ICT. These have always been dominated by foreign direct investments. We have now embarked on developing the Anse de Sable project in Vieux Fort that focuses on creating opportunities for local investment in the hospitality sector.”Mr. Francis and his board were congratulated by Prime Minister Honourable Allen Chastanet for ISL’s many initiatives, saying that the brand they had created had been developed from the actual work of attracting investment in Saint Lucia.“Many people confuse brand with what we actually do. I think that ISL has done it backwards here. In fact, they have been doing it for some time, and are now allowing the brand to catch up with what they are doing, and that is really commendable because it is real. At the end of the day there is a tremendous amount of competition that is taking place in the world. If we want to be able to capture our fair share of investment, it means that we are going to have to be more innovative and hungrier than everybody else. We have to make a compelling case as to why somebody would want to come to this country. The job of all of us together is about achieving that… The effectiveness of doing business in government has to change.”ISL rebranding could not be timelier as the Government of Saint Lucia is moving to activate major transformational changes and improvements in the economy. These changes include the expansion of the Hewanorra International Airport, upgrading and building new roads, and the sprucing up of Capital City of Castries. Additionally, all sectors of the economy will continue to benefit substantially from infrastructure improvements in communications, water supply, sewerage and port facilities.The ISL team has scheduled promotional missions and trips in the next few weeks including CHICOS in Jamaica, the Middle East, Europe, and the United States to deliver the message to new investors.Royal blue and gold will be ISL’s new brand colours to convey the image of Saint Lucia as a crown jewel. Better inter-agency collaboration, new dynamic marketing materials and an annual investment awards, which will recognize both investors and agencies who have demonstrated excellence in service delivery, are some of the tools that will give expression to the ISL brand.
MTV’s hit reality show “The Challenge” is back for its 35th season on Wednesday, April 1 at 8 p.m. ET, and this season’s installment pits 28 cast members against each other in an individual competition known as “Total Madness.” Fan favorites, such as Johnny Bananas, CT, Jordan, Tori, Nany, and Jenna, return, and they’ll be joined by seven rookies from reality shows “Big Brother,” “The Amazing Race,” “Are You the One?,” and “Survivor.”Just as noteworthy, T.J. Lavin is back to host his 25th season of “The Challenge.” The professional BMX rider has become as much of a fixture of the show as any of the competitors, and loyal viewers love his no-nonsense approach to dealing with quitters (he’s not a fan, and he’ll let you know). (MTV) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/22/4b/swaggycwilliamsjpg_q1pekja6nrrj15635sbam5dwk.jpg?t=902455441&w=500&quality=80 With no live sports on right now, “The Challenge” is the closest thing we have, so whether you’re a long-time viewer or plan on jumping in for the first time, here’s everything (and we do mean everything) you need to know about “The Challenge: Total Madness,” including the entire cast and format for Season 35.MORE: The best MTV ‘The Challenge’ cast members of all time, ranked (MTV) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/2f/e8/bigtfazakerleyjpg_vtf8iymqarge1jjm4epn231st.jpg?t=902454409&w=500&quality=80 (MTV) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/23/fc/johnnybananasdevenanziojpg_1gg38uikm7onj1vl02xit4myb4.jpg?t=902454409&w=500&quality=80 Jenny West (2nd Challenge)Jenny made her debut last season, and despite being one of the most physically imposing females in Challenge history, she clearly has a lot to learn about playing “the game.” Perhaps she’ll be better at making alliances, scheming, and backstabbing this time around. If she is, she could be a force, as other females seem nervous about calling her out for an elimination.We didn’t get much of an insight into her personality last season, aside from some outbursts about “loyalty,” but Jenny, who was one of the winners of “Survival of the Fittest,” has the tools to make a deep run this season. So does her near-identical twin sister, Lucy, who’s not on the show…or is she? We’ll know if she’s secretly subbed in for Jenny if she says something interesting. (MTV) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/ff/5b/jenniferleejpg_now5wvg90kxa1s99mqv9gm3vy.jpg?t=902454409&w=500&quality=80 Rogan O’Connor (3rd Challenge)Rogan’s first appearance on “The Challenge” ended as quickly as it began, as he was unable to finish the first competition on “Vendettas.” His next appearance, last season’s “War of the Worlds 2”, resulted in a title. Clearly, we’ve seen a wide range from Rogan, but he’ll have to attack this season without his bromance partner, Joss Mooney. Companionship likely won’t be an issue (especially with Dee back), but Joss often provided a confidence boost that Rogan needed to get up for comps. Perhaps that won’t be a problem after winning a final, but Rogan is still a sensitive bloke who might need the other half of “Jogan” to really shine. It’s unclear if Rogan will be on the outside looking in on any “British alliance” this season, as he shunned many of his compatriots last season for an alliance headed up by Paulie and Cara Maria. Even with fewer Brits this year, that could prove to be a big detriment to Rogan’s game, so expect him to be desperate to make deals early on. Also, expect at least one strip tease scene from the former (current?) stripper because that’s just what he does, even with Joss gone. (MTV) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/bb/c1/bayleighdaytonjpg_19zu647k186wf1jv79fy4lsvuc.jpg?t=902454409&w=500&quality=80 Cory Wharton (7th Challenge)Cory has been making the rounds on MTV reality shows (“Ex on the Beach,” “Teen Mom”), and he’s back on “The Challenge” after a two-season hiatus. Last time we saw him, he was getting kicked off “Final Reckoning” (along with partner Devin Walker-Molaghan) for a physical confrontation with Tony Raines. Up to that point, Cory had competed in six straight challenges, reaching the finals twice and hooking up with so many different females that he got his own “look-how-many-girls-Cory-has-hooked-up-with” segment on a reunion show. So, he’s classy.A member of “The Young Bucks” alliance (along with Hunter and Nelson Thomas), it’s tough to know what to make of Cory as a competitor. He’s shown promise, but his brash confidence often gets him in trouble, particularly in regards to his borderline obsession with taking out Johnny Bananas. He’s willing to volunteer for eliminations, which is just about the dumbest thing a Challenge competitor can do (aside from trusting Bananas or quitting in front of host T.J. Lavin). Maybe fatherhood and some time away from “The Challenge” has helped Cory mature, but we’ll believe it when we see it. (MTV) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/3f/6d/cttamburellojpg_r0jbmlw97514tryg63pd95r.jpg?t=902454409&w=500&quality=80 Chris “CT” Tamburello (17th Challenge)The “Godfather of the Challenge” was once the most feared competitor on this — or any — reality show. Now, CT has settled into the “wily veteran” role, using his well-cultivated relationships with fellow vets, hero-like status with newcomers, and less-than-intimidating current physical presence (“dad bawd”) to sail through without his name being mentioned for elimination comps (except for the time the already-forgotten J.P. Andrade called him out for a three-person elimination during “War of the Worlds 1”). It will be interesting to see how CT navigates this season, as he’ll have to win an elimination comp into order to compete in the final, but barring some J.P. Andrade-like balls-dropping moment from a rookie or a surprise purge (which knocked him out during “Final Reckoning”), CT should stick around for a while. Can he win his fourth title? Well, he’s made three finals in his past five seasons, including last season’s team win, so anything is possible, but it won’t be easy for the 39-year-old Challenge legend to pick up another ring. Regardless, Challenge fans should just be happy we get another season with CT and his endlessly entertaining commentary. We likely don’t have many left, so enjoy it while you can. (MTV) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/55/5/deenguyenjpg_1wric8w3065f218ufct55de648.jpg?t=902454409&w=500&quality=80 Dee Nguyen (3rd Challenge)Dee went through the gamut of emotions last season. She fell in love (as much as one can on “The Challenge”) with castmate Rogan O’Connor, only to get blindsided when Rogan tried to nominate her for elimination. She also had some sort of dehydration/panic attack that required medical attention. Finally, she won the whole damn thing with Team UK, making her one of the most unlikely champs in recent memory. Back for season No. 3, Dee has to be considered one of the stronger female competitors. We don’t know what to expect from her emotionally, especially with love-interest Rogan also returning, but Dee will have more confidence in herself, as well as some well-established relationships/alliances that should allow her safety through the first several weeks. Nany Gonzalez (9th Challenge)Assuming Nany doesn’t take home a title this season (a safe bet, let’s be honest), she’ll tie Robin Hibbard for the second-most Challenge appearances without a win. Even worse, Nany has only made one final. She’s one of the least accomplished players in Challenge history, yet most fans probably think of her as a decent competitor and a worthwhile addition to any season, so that’s a feather in her cap, I guess.Nany has never been shy about romantic involvement with other cast members (which is really none of our business, as she correctly pointed out during her epic “Battle of the Exes 2” fight with Nia). She openly admitted last season that she’s pretty desperate for a Challenge win, so who knows what will happen during what figures to be one of her final appearances. She’ll be helped by the fact that two of her best friends, Jenna and Kailah, are on this season and they have few natural enemies. (MTV) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/53/b/nelsonthomasjpg_1ouuw7h03yjhu119egao53o6mn.jpg?t=902455441&w=500&quality=80 (MTV) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/68/9e/jenniferwestjpg_jg3a9hhsvirv1jiodnsqlgiqx.jpg?t=902454409&w=500&quality=80 Bayleigh Dayton (“Big Brother”)If you watched Bayleigh’s season of Big Brother (BB20), you know she’s a passionate gal. In fact, the then-flight attendant got so heated during one argument that she bit the inside of her cheek/gums/tongue and had blood filling her mouth for the rest of the fight. It was frightening.Bayleigh will be an immediate target because of her rookie status and close association with husband Chris “Swaggy C” Williams. Couples are always threats, especially rookie couples who can’t bite their tongues (except, you know, when they literally bite their tongues as outlined above). “Swayleigh” (yes, that’s what they call themselves…) will likely come in hot, which means they won’t make any friends (not that they care about that anyway, per reality show rules). They do have a nice built-in Big Brother alliance with two other cast members from their season, but they’ll have to fight for their survival. (MTV) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/ad/b0/corywhartonjpg_letfkzcm47sh1gg9qwlru3j1z.jpg?t=902454409&w=500&quality=80 (MTV) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/b9/db/challenge-35-cast-033120-mtv_109buvm6jk7at1qivyovl6rrbq.jpg?t=822752081&w=500&quality=80 Josh Martinez (3rd Challenge)Josh is annoying; Josh is emotional; Josh is also, surprisingly, a decent competitor. Maybe this shouldn’t be a surprise considering he won his season of “Big Brother,” but despite not totally looking the part (at least compared to some of the other possibly/definitely ‘roided-up dudes on this show), Josh has heart.Yes, he’ll cry; and, yes, he’ll get friend-zoned by at least one female like he has his previous two seasons (Amanda Garcia and Georgia Harrison, respectively); and, finally, yes, he’ll start some petty argument and scream a lot while glancing over his shoulder to see if production is coming to break up the fight before it actually turns physical. But damnit, Josh has a role on this show, and he plays it well, so let’s all welcome him back. Johnny ‘Bananas’ Devenanzio (20th Challenge)Johnny Bananas is a Challenge legend. He’s won more finals than anyone in Challenge history (6), eclipsed $682,000 in total prize money, appeared on “The Tonight Show,” and hosts his own late-night travel show on NBC (“1st Look”). At this point, you wouldn’t think he needs “The Challenge” anymore…or maybe he needs it more than ever. (Deep, right?)Such is the complicated legacy of Bananas. Maybe he wants to go out on top, but he hasn’t even made a final in his past six seasons. No longer the untouchable mastermind, Bananas is now a prime target for virtually all other competitors. Unlike CT, who turned himself into a lovable, Yoda-type figure, Bananas continued to scheme and make enemies. Rookies want to take him out to make a name for themselves; mid-tier veterans want to take him out because they don’t like him; and many seasoned veterans want to take him out because they don’t trust him. He’s also no longer a great competitor, so winning eliminations is far from a sure thing against anyone. Even if you don’t like Bananas, you know he brings a lot to the table. Great one-liners and narration, derisive nicknames for other competitors, creative scheming (like having his sister write generic, threatening notes before the season starts and leaving them in other people’s rooms to stir up drama), and a fierce desire to win-at-all costs are just a few of his attributes. Maybe we’re the ones who truly need Bananas, so let’s hope he sticks around for a while. Tula “Big T” Fazakerley (2nd Challenge)Big T’s nickname is derived from the fact that she’s actually quite diminutive, so basically the inverse of Thomas “Tiny” Lister (aka “Deebo” from “Friday”). So, that’s funny. Anyway, she showed some spunk last season but she was never a serious contender, and barring a sudden growth spurt at the age of 27, she’ll likely be considered a “layup” again this season. Her day job is listed as “wig maker,” so at least her hair will be stylish when she’s eventually eliminated. Nelson Thomas (6th Challenge)Like fellow “Young Buck” Cory, Nelly T has skipped the past two seasons. Also like Cory, he hasn’t won a final and has been kicked off a previous Challenge (Dirty Thirty). Nelly T is one of those dudes who seems like a good competitor, but then he’ll do something stupid — either during a comp or before a comp — that makes you say, “What the hell are you doing, Nelly T? You’re not good at this game.” (Though he’s still not as dim as Cory, who once thought he could pick up an entire puzzle display and swim with it back to a boat after being unable to figure out a simple math problem with his partner Nicole Zanatta. “The Young Bucks,” folks…)Nelly will likely continue his confounding game play this season, and he’ll undoubtedly team up with Cory and try to take out some established veterans (i.e. Bananas). Will that strategy actually work? Probably not, but if nothing else, Nelson does have a habit of winning the affection of highly sought-after females — he was fancied by Kayleigh Morris and Angela Babicz — so some might say Nelly T is actually winning at the game of life. Jenna Compono (8th Challenge)Jenna shouldn’t be as successful as she’s been on “The Challenge.” She’s not particularly bright (she once asked fellow castmate and fiance Zach Nichols who the “president of Wyoming” is), she doesn’t like eating “gross” food (which, for her, is anything other than chicken fingers), and she’s not particularly athletic. Yet, she’s made three finals, which is more than a lot of the other losers on this show can say. What Jenna lacks in brains, taste buds, and athleticism, she makes up for in likability. Few cast members seem as genuinely sweet as Jenna, and that goes a long way in forging relationships and avoiding eliminations. She’s also tall, which gives her a size advantage over most females, and she never gives up, even when her partner bails on her (looking at you, Jay Gotti…loser). With a wedding to Zach in the near future, it would be nice to see Jenna finally get a title and win some money, but either way, we should all appreciate having someone on a show like this who’s not an awful person. (MTV) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/d6/6a/asafgorenjpg_wqqyk4azbb0d10vvwm5ci8ud1.jpg?t=902454113&w=500&quality=80 (MTV) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/c1/9d/kailahcasillasjpg_q1m0bdk6ga641uufg9i8ac1es.jpg?t=902455441&w=500&quality=80 (MTV) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/79/41/kylechristijpg_ft9ktm7ap4qs1qwnvkbt3eakg.jpg?t=902454409&w=500&quality=80 (MTV) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/e3/ee/kayceeclarkjpg_16w7735awj8ocz8g28ktrq1r7.jpg?t=902455441&w=500&quality=80 Mattie Lynn Breaux (2nd Challenge)Free-spirited Mattie Lynn had a strong rookie season on “War of the Worlds 1” before ultimately withdrawing during the final. Host T.J. Lavin gave her a stern talking to about the pitfalls of smoking after she gassed out, which is really a life lesson that applies to all of us.As a competitor, the 6-foot Mattie Lynn is a tough matchup in an elimination comp for any other female, which is part of the reason she made the final as a rookie. Her stamina is very much still in question, though, so anything involving endurance is a wild card. Overall, Mattie Lynn is a tough competitor to handicap, but she brings a lot of life to the game — as is expected from anyone forged in fire on her original show, “Party Down South” — and could be a sleeper if she followed T.J.’s advice and realized that tobacco is wacko (or one of the other 100 anti-smoking slogans found on this website). What is the ‘The Challenge’?This clip of the first five minutes of the premiere episode lets us know that competitors will work in teams, pairs, and individually during daily competitions, but ultimately, this is a solo game and there will only be one winner. (It’s unclear if that’s one male and one female winner or one winner overall, though it’s likely the latter.)We don’t yet know how players will be picked for elimination rounds. The past several seasons have featured some sort of “tribunal” that chooses at least one of the elimination-round competitors, with the other competitor going in based on performance (e.g. finishing last in the daily competition) or getting voted in. According to the MTV press release, there’s a $1 million prize and a “shocking twist” (as if there wasn’t going to be a shocking twist). It’s unclear if said “shocking twist” is the widely reported rumor that competitors must appear in an elimination round in order to advance to the final, but either way, that will alter the strategy of more than a few vets who aim to manipulate their way to the final without ever seeing the inside of an elimination ring.Filmed in Austria and the Czech Republic, one thing we do know is that instead of staying in a luxurious mansion, this season the cast will be living in a “bunker,” which should only add to the tension. T.J. says this will be the “most dangerous season” in Challenge history, so that’s also promising. MORE: A sports fan’s guide to Netflix, Hulu, YouTube & moreWhat time is ‘The Challenge’ on MTV?The first episode for Season 35 of MTV’s “The Challenge” (“Total Madness”) debuts on Wednesday, April 1, at 8 p.m. ET. Each episode will last 90 minutes. It is preceded by 14 straight hours of “Ridiculousness” (not a joke) and followed by another hour of “Ridiculousness” (also not a joke). How to watch ‘The Challenge: Total Madness’You can watch MTV through your cable provider or on channel 331 on DirecTV. You can also watch live on the MTV app (available on Roku, Fire Stick, Chromecast, AppleTV, etc.) or MTV.com with a valid cable/satellite log-in. MTV’s ‘The Challenge: Total Madness’ castVETERANS Aneesa Ferreira (13th Challenge)Her? Aneesa holds the Challenge record for most appearances without winning a final. Her first appearance was on “Battle of the Sexes 1” in 2003 — and she really wasn’t all that good then either. She’s made two finals (“Gauntlet 2” and “Duel 2”), the last of which came in ’09. You might be wondering why Aneesa keeps coming back, but a better question is why does MTV keeping inviting her back? Obviously, Aneesa brings a wealth of Challenge experience (but, ironically, not a lot of Challenge wealth). She always competes hard, and her size often gives her an advantage in elimination comps against smaller females. Because of that and her veteran status, she’ll probably stick around longer than you think, but the odds of this being “Lucky No. 13” for Aneesa are as slim as former “Real World: Chicago” castmate Kyle Brandt ever quitting his “Good Morning Football” co-hosting gig and going on “The Challenge.” (MTV) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/7d/d6/nanygonzalezjpg_1pvezar1ej7mi1r2ccqaxpr7rm.jpg?t=902455441&w=500&quality=80 Kaycee Clark (“Big Brother”)Kaycee is a former professional football player for the San Diego Surge, where she logged 14 receptions for 359 yards and five TDs in 2017, which sort of makes her the Odell Beckham Jr. of the Women’s Football Alliance. She won BB20 and is now an entrepreneur in the Phoenix area, which is probably code for invested in a swimwear and tank top company. Well-liked by virtually all of her castmates, Kaycee rode smart game play, clutch competition wins, and an even-keel attitude to her Big Brother victory. All of those attributes will help her in “The Challenge,” but she won’t fly under the radar given her physical stature and BB victory. Kaycee won’t make enemies, but it’s fair to wonder if she’ll scheme enough to stay out of elimination comps. (MTV) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/43/a3/melissareevesjpg_wey3s8cc9sjszyenkfmj07dy.jpg?t=902455441&w=500&quality=80 Faysal Shawn “Fessy” Shafaat (“Big Brother,” “American Ninja Warrior”)Another former football player, Fessy started 44 of 48 games for FCS Tennessee-Chattanooga during his college career. The 6-5, 235-pound TE caught 125 passes for 1,204 yards and 18 TDs over his four years as a Moc, so it’s clearly up for debate which former football player who appeared on “Big Brother 20” is the best pass-catcher in this season’s Challenge cast. (Related: “The Challenge” once featured a competitor named C.J. Koegel, who was described as a “free-agent NFL punter,”, which kind of applies to all of us, when you think about it.)Fessy was the eighth houseguest evicted on his season of BB, as he could never seem to figure out the game or find the right alliance, often admitting he had no idea what was going on in the house. That’s not a good sign as he joins “The Challenge,” but his size and strength will make him tough to beat in any physical competition. Puzzles are a different story, but maybe he can get lucky and dodge those all season — like about 95 percent of the rest of the cast is hoping they can do. Stephen Bear (3rd Challenge)Love him or hate him, there’s no denying that Bear was born to be on reality TV. He talks s***, stirs things up, and has absolutely no shame. This was best exemplified on “War of the Worlds 1″ when he was caught redhanded by his Challenge hook-up, Georgia, talking on the phone with his girlfriend, and he denied it to the bitter end, saying he was talking to his cousin. He then went on to explain that his policy is to always lie to women. Another classy fella. Bear is all about making good TV. Sure, he’d like to win a final and take home a pile of money, but he knows that’s unlikely to happen. He’s not the strongest or smartest competitor, but he’ll give it everything he’s got — if for no other reason than he wants every single second of screen time he can possibly get. If it’s a villain you want, Bear will be that villain. If it’s comedic relief, Bear will provide that in spades. If it’s a scrappy underdog toppling a Challenge legend (like he did last season when he called out and beat Wes in an elimination), he’s capable of that, as well. For as long as Challenge producers want him on the show, Bear will be there, so get used to it. Jay Starrett (“Survivor,” “Ex on the Beach”)Jay has “this season’s J.P. Andrade” written all over him (and if you’ve already forgotten who that is, we don’t blame you). Jay was in the real-estate game before finishing sixth on “Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X.” He doesn’t look physically imposing, but he likes to skateboard, so maybe he’ll bond with host T.J. Lavin over their love of such pursuits. Ultimately, becoming friends with Teej should really be everyone’s goal on this show, so anything else for Jay would be gravy.It’s likely Jay will be singularly focused on taking out Bananas, who might have hooked up with Jay’s girlfriend/ex-girlfriend (the timelines are all very hazy), Morgan Willett, when she was partners with Bananas on “War of the Worlds 1.” That will make for a fun rivalry that will almost certainly end in the first two weeks when Jay goes home. (MTV) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/2b/88/jaystarrettjpg_qa7vf6ye5n971ip3vw22ne0oy.jpg?t=902454409&w=500&quality=80 (MTV) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/d/81/roganoconnorjpg_18c6k7w4eihw21niq654hl9shi.jpg?t=902455441&w=500&quality=80 (MTV) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/e0/88/aneesaferreirajpg_85kp6wlizs2k1lrqia480rhcy.jpg?t=902454113&w=500&quality=80 Melissa Reeves (3rd Challenge)There isn’t much to say about Melissa because we haven’t see all that much of her on her previous two seasons. She was the sixth person bounced on “Vendettas”, then got kicked off “Final Reckoning” in Week 2 for fighting with Kailah. From what we did see, she wasn’t a particularly good competitor, but she enjoyed — how should we say this? — “not wearing much clothing” and causing trouble. Expect more of the same this season, from the instigating to the exiting early. Apparently, she’s a popular DJ over in the UK, so she’ll land on her feet. Who cares, though, really? Tori Deal (4th Challenge)The soon-to-be Mrs. Jordan Wiseley has carved out her own name in Challenge history, making two finals in her first three seasons, but to really go down as one of the best, she needs a title. Tori is certainly capable of winning, but being tied to Jordan is a blessing and a curse. It’s the former because she’s protected by the best competitor on the show; it’s the latter because she’s associated with one of the most hated. Without knowing what to expect from the rookies, Tori has to be considered one of the top-three females in this cast (and arguably No. 1). That makes her a target, but depending on how the elimination competitors are picked, that also makes her someone the other females will want to avoid. On one hand, it would be nice to see Tori break through and win a title; on the other, that just means she and Jordan will have more money to spend on making YouTube videos for their covers of pop and country songs, and I’m not sure anyone wants to see that. Jordan Wiseley (6th Challenge)Look, people throw around the term “G.O.A.T.” too casually nowadays, but Jordan has a legit case for being the G.O.A.T. of “The Challenge.” He’s won three titles and made four finals in five seasons, securing the second-most prize money in show history ($833,000). He also met his future wife on the show (Tori Deal), and he’s done it all with only one finger on his left hand.Jordan is unabashedly cocky, but he’s always been able to back it up. He undoubtedly grates on some viewers (and certainly grates on his castmates), but the only way to shut him up is to beat him, and no one has been able to do that in his past three appearances. He’s not afraid to go into elimination comps, and he’s always a candidate to annoy someone so much that they get disqualified because of threats or acts of violence (like when he “copied” Turbo’s walk last season). Until someone beats him, Jordan has to be considered the favorite in any solo season despite not having many strong alliances. (MTV) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/bb/b2/jennacomponojpg_2wwo2ks91yqm1aj5p4clq6bi5.jpg?t=902454409&w=500&quality=80 Wes Bergmann (13th Challenge)We weren’t sure if we were ever gonna see Wes again when he took four seasons off to run one of his 30 companies and drive his monster truck (or BMW or Porsche), but he’s now back for his third straight season. The last two have had varying degrees of success — a third-place finish in “War of the Worlds 1” and an early exit at the hands of Bear in “War of the Worlds 2.” The rest of the cast seems to have caught up with Wes’s political game and “master planning,” but he’s still one of the brainiest competitors in the game even if he doesn’t quite have the brawn to back it up anymore. We all laugh when Bananas make fun of Wes’s red hair or when Wes mocks Bananas’s lack of a “real job,” but game-wise, it doesn’t matter as much as it used to. If they joined up together and started a veterans’ alliance, perhaps they could wreak havoc together one last time, but it almost feels like they’re simply playing their roles as foils for each other at this point. Wes has always been unpredictable, though, so it will be interesting to see what he’s bringing to the table this year. If nothing else, it will likely be unnecessarily complicated and he’ll explain it in grandiose detail.Who are the rookies on ‘The Challenge: Total Madness’?ROOKIES Asaf Goren (Original shows: “Big Brother Israel,” “So You Think You Can Dance?”, “Are You the One?”)Based on a simple Google search of Asaf Goren, this man does it all. He dances (he appeared in a Britney Spears video); he raps (his first album, “Rachel,” was released under his rap name, XTRDNRY), he acts (he was in the unfortunately titled TV short, “The Pound Hole”); and he has a cool nickname (“The Hebrew Breaker”). You might be wondering, “Is there anything Asaf Goren can’t do?” Well, probably win this season of “The Challenge.”That’s no knock on Asaf Goren, but rookies tend to get picked on. He’ll get voted into elimination comps early and often if at all possible, and that’s a tough road for anyone to navigate — even The Hebrew Breaker. Ashley Mitchell (7th Challenge)To understand Ashley as a competitor, there are two things you need to know:1. She’s won two titles — a solo win in the highly competitive “Invasion of the Champions” season and a couples win in “Final Reckoning”, where she jilted her partner (and former friend-with-benefits), Hunter Barfield, and kept the $1 million prize for herself, the biggest purse ever in Challenge history up to that point. As a result, she’s won the most prize money of any Challenge competitor ($1,121,250), and similar to LeBron James, she’s invested some of that money back into her body. 2. More than once, she’s threatened to sabotage her own team and throw competitions, including during “Champs vs. Stars 2”, which was a spinoff show for charity. So, yes, Ashley is the type of ultra-competitive, vindictive, bat****-crazy person who was built for a show like this. She’s also attractive in the way someone on r/hotmugshots is and enjoys the company of others during those lonely Challenge nights, so, again, she’s built for a show like this. Ashley is just as likely to quit in the first episode as she is win the final, and either way, viewers will get their money’s worth. Christopher “Swaggy C” Williams (“Big Brother”)Swaggy will likely be more of a target that Bayleigh, as he’s the brasher of the two. I mean, the guy proposed to Bayleigh on live TV after knowing her for just a few weeks, so he’s not exactly risk-adverse. He also showed up to the Big Brother house with a bunch of t-shirts with his own nickname on them, so he’s quite literally trying to make a name for himself. The problem with the day trader/nanny (his pre-Big Brother jobs) is that there’s no dimmer switch. He’s all Swaggy, all the time. Maybe he’s learned a to calm down since his Week 2 BB20 departure, but chances are the Challenge house will provoke one or two outbursts from him. If “Swayleigh” can make it through the first few weeks, they could make it far, but that’s a big “if.” (MTV) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/e6/ea/wesbergmannjpg_1xeg7gymc3ivi1bmm2g840fptp.jpg?t=902455441&w=500&quality=80 (MTV) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/3e/ba/mattiebreauxjpg_180bg3ez0ymvd157ulu0jmua0v.jpg?t=902454409&w=500&quality=80 (MTV) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/36/db/joshmartinezjpg_16zdt4kknjber1t32mkp31d2xj.jpg?t=902455441&w=500&quality=80 (MTV) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/4/75/ashleymitchelljpg_psj3wimfx7p110an49hwzd8gq.jpg?t=902454409&w=500&quality=80 (MTV) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/62/95/toridealjpg_o34glb3lr0g11f687dsg4l3ip.jpg?t=902455441&w=500&quality=80 (MTV) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/4/12/fessyshafaatjpg_isdltsaa70iu1lts9sj5k3z8s.jpg?t=902454409&w=500&quality=80 (MTV) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/8c/54/stephenbearjpg_t070nntfygf9117ctw1et153j.jpg?t=902455441&w=500&quality=80 (MTV) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/29/31/jordanwiseleyjpg_8c3282g45cst17w1v3m13lqrc.jpg?t=902454409&w=500&quality=80 Kailah Casillas (5th Challenge)Despite being friends with her, Kailah is kind of the anti-Jenna, in that she looks the part athletically and seemingly has no fear, but she’s not as likable and can’t control her temper. The last time she appeared on “The Challenge” (“Final Reckoning”), she was kicked off for shoving/kind of hitting Melissa Reeves (who’s also back this season), so you know she can be taken out of her game. It’s fair to expect at least one fight and one hook-up from Kailah this season, but it would be a surprise if she took home a title. She’s made a final before, so it’s not impossible, but she epitomizes the reality show mantra of “not being there to make friends” (though, she is friends with Jenna and Nany, and the three could make for an interesting little alliance this season). Kailah also appeared on “Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club” in 2019, and chances are that did absolutely nothing to prepare her for another season of “The Challenge.” She also appeared on — and is a walking answer to the question — “How Far is Tattoo Far?”. Kyle Christie (5th Challenge)This is Kyle’s fifth straight Challenge, and despite failing to reach a final since his first appearance (“Vendettas”), he’s quickly become a fan favorite thanks to his ability to walk the fine line between competitiveness and not taking himself too seriously. He’s also a world-class canoodler — and proud of it — though his more carnal urges were shelved last season because of a girlfriend back home. While Kyle lacks the physical strength of many of the male competitors, he rarely seems overmatched in a competition, and his talking-head commentary is some of the best of any cast member. This will be the first time we’ve seen Kyle on a Challenge without former-paramour-turned-nemesis Cara Maria Sorbello (and just the second time without bitter rival and Cara Maria’s current boyfriend, Paulie Califiore), so it’s fair to wonder if he’ll lose his competitive edge or be more focused on the task at hand. Jenn Lee (“The Amazing Race”)Jenn has “this season’s Nicole Bass” written all over her, and if don’t know who that is, she’s the Team UK member who thought there were 56 seconds in five minutes last season. That actually happened. We’re not saying Jenn is that mathematically challenged, but she only lasted one episode on “Amazing Race 29,” so there are worries here.The professional model apparently likes to swim, so that could give her an advantage in water-based competitions, but judging by her Amazing Race experience, she won’t be around long enough to make it to any swimming comps.
Benitez says, “Always swim in a group. Sharks most often attack lone individuals. Try not to swim far from shore. Doing so will make it very difficult to get assistance in case of an emergency.”In addition, she suggests that people avoid swimming at night, when sharks are typically most active, and to avoid entering the water if bleeding. According to Benitez, “Sharks can quickly trace it back to its source.” An unidentified Florida diver was seriously injured on Saturday morning, when a shark bit him near Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park in Key Biscayne.Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Spokeswoman Erika Benitez says the injured diver was brought back to shore by good samaritans. He was then taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center.
CHELSEA landed a nightmare Champions League last-16 draw – paired with Barcelona in our very own simulation.Ahead of Monday’s draw, SunSport held our own ceremony – and it’s bad news all-round for Premier League sides.3 How SunSport’s Champions League last 16 draw simulation panned out3 Chelsea and Spurs could face a nightmare Champions League drawThe Blues were paired with Barca, while Tottenham must battle past a Kylian Mbappe-inspired Paris Saint-Germain.Liverpool and Manchester City will both travel to Madrid, with Atletico and Real in store for them, respectively.In a bonkers draw which saw giants drawn together, Napoli were drawn with Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund pulled Juventus out of the hat.Arguably the four weakest teams left in the competition were then all drawn together, with Atalanta paired up with RB Leipzig and Lyon getting Valencia.The draw should come as no surprise either, with Chelsea more likely to draw Barcelona than any other team in the competition.Frank Lampard’s side have a 23.28 per cent shot of facing the Spanish champions – the highest percentage of any team to face any other side.Chelsea can also face PSG, Bayern, Juventus or Red Bull Leipzig in the last-16.Meanwhile, Tottenham are most-likely to be drawn with Valencia at 22.61 per cent – but here landed PSG in a 17.33 per cent shock.3 The permutations for the Champions League last 16 drawMORE CHELSEA STORIESLive Blogblues newsChelsea news LIVE – Latest updates from Stamford BridgeGossipGOING DUTCHChelsea ‘to grab Mbuyamba on free deal’ with defender set to leave BarcelonaCOURT ORDERKante ‘ordered to appear in court’ in £3.4m legal battle with former agentBRIDGE OF SIGHSChelsea stars ‘bored’ and Hazard suffered under Sarri, says ex-No2 ZolaGossipBERN IT UPMan Utd, Arsenal and Chelsea on alert after Bernardeschi reveals Prem plansLive BlogBLUES NEWSChelsea news LIVE: Latest updates and transfer gossip from Stamford BridgeGossipSAMU’LL DOChelsea turn attention to Villarreal’s Chukwueze as United edge closer to SanchoJESUS HEISTChelsea talks with Jesus Corona confirmed as agent reveals ace open to transferGossipLIAN HEARTWillian wanted by PSG on a free with Arsenal in hunt ahead of deal running outPicturedBUL OVEREx-Chelsea man Bulka wrecks £200k Lamborghini in horror crash in Poland lockdownLiverpool and Man City are both most likely to play Atletico Madrid – with the Reds getting them in our run-through.Both clubs also have a 21.58 per cent chance of facing Real Madrid.In an incredible turn of events, this season’s Champions League last 16 is the first time in tournament history all 16 clubs have hailed from Europe’s “Big Five” leagues.Chelsea boss Frank Lampard is only looking for the best players as he eyes January transfer window